AUSN Joins TMC In Calling For Oversight Of Commissary And Exchange Proposal
AUSN recently signed on to a letter by The Military Coalition that calls on Congress to increase oversight of a Pentagon proposal to merge the commissary and exchange systems. The proposal would have the commissary and exchange stores look the same, but certain back-office functions would be joined under a single umbrella. TMC isn’t opposed, but says that caution is needed as any disruption to the system could have tremendous negative impacts for veterans. Ideally, the Government Accountability Office would review the proposal and hearings could be held to make sure the transition works for veterans.
VA Insists They’re Ready For MISSION Act Rollout
The Department of Veterans Affairs says they are ready to roll out a new consolidated community care program by June 6 as part of the initial implementation of the VA MISSION Act. Richard Stone, VA’s acting undersecretary of health, acknowledged at a hearing this week before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that there could be hiccups. “Are we going to get it all right? No.” Senate VA Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (MT) expressed skepticism at the hearing that the VA was ready. “If veterans are going to see a delay in care because the program isn’t ready to go, the best time to tell us that is today,” he said.
New Bill Would Prevent VA From Penalizing Medical Marijuana Users
Military veterans in states where marijuana is legal would be protected from losing federal benefits for using the drug if a new bill introduced in Congress recently were to be enacted. The VA doesn’t currently deny benefits for that reason, but the bill would ensure that no future policy would seek to do that. Current VA policy does prohibit providers from recommending marijuana, as the drug remains illegal on the federal level.
US Navy Veteran To Walk Across America To Raise Awareness Of Suicide, Homelessness
A U.S. Navy veteran will walk 2,866 miles over 131 days across America to bring attention to veterans struggling with homelessness and suicide. Thomas Zurhellen, the commander of the Poughkeepsie Veterans of Foreign Wars post 170, will carry a 30-pound bag from Portland, Ore. to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “This past year, pretty much every day I have been confronted with a veteran who needs help,” Zurhellen said according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. “We can’t help all of them just being the VFW, so we wanted to raise awareness to the community and to the nation that we all need to take care of these problems.”